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CJ ENM to pump W100b into KT’s media arm in K-content push

A screen grab of web-based drama series
A screen grab of web-based drama series "Shh, Please Take Care of Him" (KT Summer Drama Collage)
South Korea’s entertainment powerhouse CJ ENM is investing 100 billion won ($82.3 million) in KT StudioGenie, a media arm of the domestic telecommunications firm, in a bid to establish bilateral ties for media content targeting global audience, a filing showed Monday.

The two companies signed a memorandum of understanding the same day, setting a deadline for the acquisition 90 days after the announcement. As a result, CJ ENM will become a minority shareholder with nearly a 10 percent stake in KT StudioGenie. Further details about the deal are under discussion, they said.

The deal will allow KT StudioGenie, a wholly-owned arm of KT, to have its media contents distributed through CJ ENM’s pay TV networks such as tvN and streaming media service platforms such as Tving. KT’s media arm will also co-produce contents with CJ ENM based on KT StudioGenie‘s intellectual property.

The two companies will also discuss further collaboration in the digital music business and ways to jointly create an investment vehicle and set up a committee comprised of executives from each company.

KT StudioGenie oversees a range of media content businesses ranging from content production to distribution. Its businesses include webtoons, web novels, a music streaming service and a satellite TV network.

The news came months after CJ ENM announced plans to split off its content production business in November to strengthen its move to target a global audience. The carve-out plan earlier this year was rumored to have been shelved.

“Our collaboration with KT will leverage CJ ENM’s move to advance to a global total entertainment firm,” Kang Ho-sung, chief executive of CJ ENM, said in a statement. 

Shares of CJ ENM jumped 1.6 percent on Monday from the previous trading day’s closing price. KT‘s share price was 0.6 percent higher.

By Son Ji-hyoung (consnow@heraldcorp.com)
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